An administration building on Washington Street, a house and a Quonset hut for classrooms a few blocks up, and sports in a local Catholic community center. The College of Steubenville had humble beginnings. But the quality of education, the school spirit, and the sheer fun of those early days loom large in the memory of Nettie Mantica Grant.
The daughter of a local pharmacist, Nettie was one of six children. Four of them attended the College. Her brother, Donald ’60, became a priest. Her sister, Connie Horvath ’66, became a teacher. Her brother, John ’50, became the first Steubenville grad to go on to medical school.
Nettie majored in history, and later on completed studies in education at Kent State University. While at Steubenville, she was on the staffs of The Baronette, and The Optimist (yearbook), was president of The Thucydians (history society), and was active in the Chi Sigma sorority. Nettie is a past recipient of the Father Columba Devlin Award in recognition of her 24 years as an educator. She is also a published poet. Widowed in 2003, she now lives in Florida.
Nettie recalls the College faculty and the friars with fondness: “They were great, great people. I can’t say enough about [College founder] Father Dan Egan. He was one in a million, inspiring. My favorite teacher was John Carrigg. I’ll never forget the first day I saw him. I mistook him for one of the kids, then next period, there he was in front, teaching my class. He made history come alive like no one else… And when Peter McCafferty taught English, everything was so clear, so full of life and sunshine.”
The faculty formed real bonds with the students. “We all knew one another within a few weeks. If you needed help, it was easy to go to them. And it was always nice to drop in at the monastery after a game to visit with the fathers.”
Nettie loved her fellow students. “It was a great time to be going to college, because of all the veterans on the GI Bill. Men far outnumbered women! But these were intelligent, serious men. They weren’t there to fool around, which was fortunate for those of us just out of high school.”
A self-styled “cut-up” Nettie wasn’t always as serious as the men. Once, after repeated requests for a sofa in the women’s lounge were ignored, she and a few friends took it upon themselves to steal one from the top floor, painfully carrying it downstairs. “There we were, relaxing on that sofa, very pleased with ourselves. We were shocked when Father Regis Stafford caught us and insisted we put it back. Luckily, Rose Cerroni got her brother and some other guys to help us.” The escapade was captured on film and immortalized in the yearbook.
Originally, Nettie had planned to transfer to a larger school after a year or two at the College, but “I grew to love it so much, that I stayed and graduated… Those were beautiful days.”
Originally published in the Spring 2006 Baronette newsletter.